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Is justice being done quickly enough?

22 March 2021

The Justice Committee continues its inquiry into how delays in court cases and strains on the legal aid system have been exacerbated by the Covid–19 pandemic on Wednesday 24 March at 9.30am.

The responsible Minister as well as senior officials from the courts and legal aid authorities will be appearing before the Committee.  

Witnesses at previous evidence sessions have told the Committee the backlog in court cases could take several years to work through, depending on how it is tackled.

This is raising question marks over whether access to justice is being eroded in England and Wales. It is also increasing a phenomenon known as ‘victim and witness attrition’. With cases taking so long to come to trial, there is an increasing risk of victims and witnesses losing faith in the justice system and even dropping out of trials entirely.

Other earlier testimony to the Committee has described the significant impact of the pandemic, and earlier cuts in public funding, on the access poorer people have to legal representation through the Legal Aid network. This will also be investigated at the session.


Wednesday 24 March 2021

At 9.30am

  • Lord Wolfson of Tredegar QC, Minister of Justice responsible for all departmental business in the Lords and lead on Courts and Legal Aid
  • Kevin Sadler, Acting Chief Executive for HM Courts and Tribunals Service
  • Jane Harbottle, Chief Executive of the Legal Aid Agency 
  • Jelena Lentzos, Deputy Director, Legal Aid Policy, Ministry of Justice  

This is the seventh and last oral witness session for the Committee’s inquiries into Court Capacity and Legal Aid. It is an opportunity to explore the evidence given so far and ask the authorities about their plans to address the challenges.

Further information

Image: MoJ